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Although many couples seeking a romantic getaway head straight for neighboring Carmel, Monterey's ambiance and history should not be overlooked. There are plenty of romantic spots for eating, drinking, and strolling in this beautiful California town.

Good for
  • Couples
  • History Buff
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Beach Goer
  • Luxury Traveller
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Like a Local

10 Places

3 City Tips

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10 Places

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Aquariums

17-Mile Drive

Scenic Drives

Garrapata State Park

State Parks

California Sea Otter Game Refuge

Nature & Wildlife Areas

Andrew Molera State Park

State Parks

Carmel Mission

Sacred & Religious Sites, History Museums

Wine Trolley Tours

Wine Tours & Tastings

The Cannery Row Monument

Monuments & Statues

Cannery Row

Historic Sites, Historic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Old Fisherman's Wharf

Neighbourhoods, Piers & Boardwalks

Catherine R's City Tips

  • Although Monterey has a walkable downtown, there are many surrounding attractions that will be easier to visit by car.
  • It's likely that you'll see lots of wildlife while strolling the beaches here. Be sure you know about local wildlife protection laws.
  • Seafood is the cuisine of choice here — don't miss it!
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
    Aquariums
    See more photos
    Catherine R Says:

    Although an aquarium may not seem the most romantic of outings, there is something meditative and instantly uplifting about watching jellyfish drift through the water, or contemplating adorable seahorses (and their practice of mating for life). The Monterey Bay Aquarium is probably the most famous aquarium in the country, and it deserves its reputation. It has done much to help conserve the wildlife in the Bay, and its incredible tanks and displays are well worth a stroll 'under the sea' with your sweetie.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Get there when it opens to avoid the lines.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 77 things to do in Monterey
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Speedy but good 18/10/2018
    • Awesome aquarium!!! 17/10/2018
    • Monterey Bay Aquarium
    Address:
    886 Cannery Row
    Monterey, CA 93940-1085
    Phone:
    +1 831-648-4800
    Hours:
    Wed
    10:00 - 18:00
    Thu - Tue
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • 17-Mile Drive
    Scenic Drives
    See more photos
    Catherine R Says:

    The scenery on this famous drive is what you picture when you think about coastal California. Take a hand-in-hand stroll at one of the many stop-off points, and bring your selfie stick for some amazing couple photos.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • It might be worth renting a convertible to make this drive extra special.
    • Adventurous couples might consider biking the drive instead.
    • If you're driving, there is a fee to enter at any of the five gates. However, if you dine at one of the restaurants on the drive, show your receipt and the entrance fee will be credited to your food bill.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 77 things to do in Monterey
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A must for any trip to CA 18/10/2018
    • Incredible Coastal Drive 17/10/2018
    • 17-Mile Drive
    Phone:
    +1 800-654-9300
    Other:
  • Garrapata State Park
    State Parks
    See more photos
    Catherine R Says:

    Garrapata offers a spectacular two miles of quintessential California beach, replete with moody sea and craggy cliffs. Plus, its remote location will make it feel like you have the beach all (or mostly) to yourselves. And since this is one of the Monterey beaches that faces west (believe it or not, not all of the beaches in the area do), it is an ideal place to cozy up for the sunset. What could be more romantic?

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Bring a picnic lunch for romance on a budget.
    • Watch out for seals!
    • Combine a day at the beach with a hike in the Coastal Redwoods.
    • Note that there are no facilities at this beach, and it is not recommended to swim here, since there is no lifeguard.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 114 things to do in Carmel
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • LEAVE NO TRACE 03/10/2018
    • Favorite Painting Location 25/09/2018
    • Garrapata State Park
    Address:
    Highway 1, 6.7 miles south of Rio Road
    Highway 1, 6.7 miles south of Rio Road in Carmel
    Carmel, CA 93923
    Phone:
    +1 831-624-4909
    Other:
  • California Sea Otter Game Refuge
    Nature & Wildlife Areas
    Catherine R Says:

    Did you know that when sea otters sleep, they hold hands so they don't float away from each other? Romantic, right? Another feel-good factor is that these adorable creatures were recently on the verge of extinction, but are now making a dramatic recovery, in part thanks to the California Sea Otter Game Refuge, a protected area that extends from the Carmel River to the Santa Rosa Creek in San Luis Obispo County. The beautiful Big Sur area is a great place to spot them (and features some romantic scenery itself).

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Sea otters may be called "teddy bears of the sea," but they are still wild animals. Keep your distance from them.
    • Stop at the Sea Otter Education Center, located just east of Carmel, to learn about the otters and the refuge.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #25 of 77 things to do in Monterey
    • About 200miles long 04/10/2018
    • Otters Otters Otters! 01/10/2018
    • California Sea Otter Game Refuge
    Address:
    299 Foam St
    Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
    Monterey, CA 93940-1499
    Phone:
    +1 831-647-4201
  • Andrew Molera State Park
    State Parks
    See more photos
    Catherine R Says:

    Get off the beaten path and take a walk on the wild side in this gorgeous state park. One of Big Sur's many incredible areas, Andrew Molera offers everything from peaceful meadows to dramatic beaches, to redwood-studded hiking trails.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Pitch a two-person tent and stay the night! Campsites go on a first come, first served basis (and reservations are not available), so it's wise to get there early to claim a spot.
    • The area can be explored on bike or foot, but consider booking a horseback riding tour to up the romance factor.
    • Pay a visit to the Andrew Molera Ranch House Museum to learn more about Big Sur and view artifacts from early pioneers.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #10 of 35 things to do in Big Sur
    • 9 mile roundtrip hike 12/08/2018
    • All Day Great 29/07/2018
    • Andrew Molera State Park
    Address:
    Cabrillo Hwy
    Big Sur, CA 93920
    Phone:
    +1 831-667-2315
    Other:
  • Carmel Mission
    Sacred & Religious Sites, History Museums
    See more photos
    Catherine R Says:

    Founded in 1770, the Basilica of San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission, also known as the Carmel Mission, was the second of California's 21 missions. Today it's considered to be the most authentically restored, and is also, arguably, one of the most beautiful. Not only is the mission a popular place for weddings, but its tranquil courtyards and colorful gardens make it a wonderful place for contemplation and exploration.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Remember that this is still an active parish, so regular masses are held. If there are people worshippin when you visit, please be respectful.
    • There are four museums onsite that give interesting glimpses into the art and history of the mission and the surrounding area.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 114 things to do in Carmel
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A wonderful experience 18/10/2018
    • It needs a professional makeover 11/10/2018
    • Carmel Mission
    Address:
    3080 Rio Rd
    Carmel, CA 93923-9144
    Phone:
    +1 831-624-1271
    Hours:
    Sun
    10:30 - 17:00
    Mon - Sat
    09:30 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Wine Trolley Tours
    Wine Tours & Tastings
    See more photos
    Catherine R Says:

    What pairs well with beautiful valley landscapes? Wine, of course! Although it is not as well known as Napa or Sonoma, the Monterey/Carmel wine region makes some wonderful wines in a beautiful setting. Touring a few makes a great afternoon date.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • You can certainly visit the wineries on your own, but it's better to take a tour so that you can both enjoy without worrying about navigating the winding Carmel Valley roads.
    • If you don't have time to tour the wineries themselves, consider a visit to the charming town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, where you can visit a handful of tasting rooms. You can even save money by purchasing a "wine walk" passport in advance.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 15 Food & Drink in Monterey
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Disappointing Wine Trolley Tour 14/10/2018
    • Fast & furious 08/10/2018
    • Wine Trolley Tours
    Phone:
    +1 831-624-1700
    Other:
  • The Cannery Row Monument
    Monuments & Statues
    Catherine R Says:

    Set in a scenic plaza with beautiful landscaping, the Cannery Row Monument honors all the the people who worked in Cannery Row at the height of its production. Lose yourself in history and watch the sunset over Monterey Bay.

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • A potential marriage proposal site for history buffs?
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #9 of 77 things to do in Monterey
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Steinbeck would be proud 16/10/2018
    • Tribute 14/10/2018
    • The Cannery Row Monument
    Address:
    Cannery Row
    Steinbeck Plaza
    Monterey, CA 93940
  • Cannery Row
    Historic Sites, Historic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Catherine R Says:

    Immortalized in John Steinbeck's novel Cannery Row, this historic area was a bustling hub of canning throughout the early 20th century. It's still bustling — though today it's with tourists visiting the shops and restaurants here — and it's a great place to get a sense of history and while away an afternoon together.

    Good for
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Stop into one of the many candy shops to buy some sweets for your sweetie.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #11 of 77 things to do in Monterey
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice for a walk 18/10/2018
    • Fun shops in Monterey 17/10/2018
    • Cannery Row
    Address:
    Cannery Row & Wave Streets
    Monterey, CA 93940
    Phone:
    +1 831-649-6690
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    00:00 - 23:59
    Other:
  • Old Fisherman's Wharf
    Neighbourhoods, Piers & Boardwalks
    See more photos
    Catherine R Says:

    The location of the first canneries in the area, Old Fisherman's Wharf now houses some fun restaurants, lively bars, and funky shops. Take a walk along the wharf, looking out for pelicans and other animals, and then pick a place for a tasty seafood meal.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Nightlife Seeker
    • Nature Lover
    • Foodie
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The sea lions like to hang out on the rocks around here. Stop to watch them!
    • Consider taking a whale watching tour. You can pick them up here.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #10 of 77 things to do in Monterey
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fun place to spend a few hours... 17/10/2018
    • Birthday visit 17/10/2018
    • Old Fisherman's Wharf
    Phone:
    +1 831-649-6544
    Other:
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